For the past four and a half years, Eduflack has written about education reform. What is working. What is not. How successful are we communicating our efforts to improve our public schools. For the most part, I’ve done so from the cheap seats, observing from the sidelines, watching through the eyes of an observer, a consultant, or an advisor.
The ESEA Doomsday Scenario
After years of “will they/won’t they.” it appears the U.S. Department of Education is finally ready to move forward with its Plan B for reforming No Child Left Behind. In a release sent out over the weekend for public consumption today, ED announced its intention to “fix” NCLB. The announcement can be found here, courtesy of Politico. Also note the Politico story on the matter.
Cheatin’ on Peach Tree Street
The big edu-news of the week has to be the ever-evolving cheating scandal down in Atlanta. The allegations had already brought down a superintendent of the year, one who was once rumored to be on the short list for U.S. Secretary of Education. The report released by the Georgia governor notes cheating in 80 percent of the schools reviewed, with 178 teachers and 38 principals named in the scheme. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the full story here.
$4B vs. $4B
It appears that not all pots of $4 billion are created equal, at least not according to EdSec Arne Duncan. Out at the Education Writers Association conference last week, Duncan was scratching his head regarding an interesting paradox. We talk, ad nauseam, about the $4 billion the federal government has committed to the 12 states that won Race to the Top (RttT). But why do we say virtually nothing about the $4 billion available through the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program that is serving the lowest 5 percent of all schools in the county?
Standards or Curriculum, Curriculum or Standards?
Over at ASCDedge (a professional networking community managed by, of course, ASCD), Steven Weber reflects on recent Education Week coverage on the topic of Common Core State Standards and how it relates to curriculum. One of the key questions Weber asks those in “the community” is “Do you think that the Common Core State Standards are curriculum or do you believe there is a distinct difference between standards and curriculum?”
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.
Deliverin’ in the Pelican State
We often hear about how the latest and greatest in education reforms are happening down in the bayou. For the past half-decade, New Orleans has been the place to set up shop if you have an idea to reform a school district, train a better teacher, or close an achievement gap. You simply aren’t on the reform map if you don’t have a footprint in the Big Easy.
is defined as ‘a systematic process for driving progress and delivering results in government and the public sector.’ At the heart of the delivery approach is a set of tools, processes, and a common language for implementation. Key features include prioritizing clear goals, understanding how services reach various constituents, projecting anticipated progress toward goals, gauging impact through real-time data, and regularly taking stock to intervene when necessary.
Celebrating the Science Fair
During his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama showed the love for the science fair, saying winners of the science fair deserve the same kudos as winners of the Super Bowl. But this week, The New York Times has an article detailing how the American science fair is on the decline, placing the blame at the feet of the U.S. Department of Education and its policies on student achievement and accountability and the fact that science fairs take up a lot of work, both for the teacher and the student.
Your Senate GOP ESEA Reform Starting Lineup
All week, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) has been talking about his accelerated plans for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We are hearing of deadline like Easter for when the Senate will either entertain a new draft of the reauth, pass the reauth, or acknowledge the reauth.
Does Quality Count in Our Schools?
Yesterday, Education Week released its annual edu-stats extravaganza, Quality Counts. The 2011 edition of Quality Counts, Uncertain Forecast: Education Adjusts to a New Economic Reality, hits on all of the usual topics, with a special emphasis on the economy and its impact on education.
Looking for Online Learning Exemplars
Without question, K-12 virtual education opportunities are gaining more and more attention as late. Earlier this month, the Digital Learning Council — under the leadership of former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise — released its Digital Learning Now! report. In it, the new group offered up its 10 elements of high-quality digital education.